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Development of small molecules and chemical tools to interrogate cannabinoid receptor signalling and function

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Sunday, 31 December 2017
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
School of Pharmacy
Dr Andrea Vernall


This project will focus on the design and synthesis of small molecules and chemical tools to study cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and type 2) are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that control many cellular processes. There is huge scope to further utilise these receptors as effective drug targets if their role in disease pathology is better understood.

This project will involve the design and multi-step chemical synthesis of small molecules and tools/probes targeting cannabinoid receptors, using techniques such as anhydrous reaction conditions, column chromatography, HPLC, NMR, MS and HPLC. Research experience in laboratory-based multi-step organic synthesis and an appreciation of good health and safety practise are essential.

The work will be based at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand supervised by Dr Andrea Vernall.

The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic or medicinal chemistry or synthetic drug discovery or a related discipline, or a BPharm (Hons) or MPharm with significant practical organic chemistry experience/research project (e.g. not a taught Masters), and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research.


Dr Andrea Vernall
Tel   64 3 479 4518